In 1907 the Ontario Department of Agriculture established its Extension Branch to set up and administer a network of branch offices in each county to provide advice and assistance to farmers and agricultural organizations at the local level. The Elgin County Branch office was established in 1911, largely as a result of the vigorous lobbying efforts of Wallacetown, Ontario resident John E. Pearce.
Each Extension Branch office was headed by the resident Agricultural Representative. Fred Moore Clement of Lincoln County arrived in 1911 as the first Agricultural Representative for Elgin County. Mr. Clement was succeeded by Charles W. Buchanan, who served until 1927. Following Mr. Buchanan were Fletcher S. Thomas (1927-1945), A.O. Dalrymple (1945-1946), A. Victor Langton (1946-1972), Harold Buck (1972-1980), John A. Anderson (1980-[1985?]), and David Murray ([1985?]-[1996?]).
By 1923 the Elgin County Branch office of the Ontario Department of Agriculture was situated at 371 Talbot St., St. Thomas, Ontario, subsequently known as the Royal Bank Building. The office relocated in early 1965 to 594 Talbot St., St. Thomas.
In a press release issued May 22, 1996, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food announced the closure of its St. Thomas, Ontario branch office and the consolidation of its functions in a new regional Ministry office to be opened in London, Ontario.
Records comprising the fonds were in the custody of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Elgin County Branch, St. Thomas, Ontario until its closure in May, 1996. Records were transferred to the custody of the Elgin County Library and subsequently transferred to the Elgin County Archives.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of various records created, collected and maintained by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Elgin County Branch, St. Thomas, Ontario. Records include annual reports; records relating to the 1959-1960 Elgin Farmstead Improvement Contest and the Elgin Farmstead Improvement Centennial Contest (1965-1967); and miscellaneous records and photographs documenting agricultural events, activities and organizations in Elgin County.